TEN-year-old George Stevens from Southborough in Tunbridge Wells has been awarded a school placement with The Royal Ballet at their world renowned White Lodge school in Richmond Park, London.

White Lodge is recognised as one of the leading dance schools in the world. 

Each year more than 20,000 people apply to join The Royal Ballet, but only 12 places are available every year for boys.

George’s parents Lorna and Geoff Stevens told the Times: “George has always been a dancer, and started as soon as he could stand up. He has always loved all types of music and would regularly dance around the house singing to pop songs and chart music, but could often be found sitting alone quietly listening to classical music, too.”

George, who attends Southborough Primary School and is currently in Year 6, started dance training when he was six years old, learning aerodance, tap and modern. 

His parents were also keen for him to try ballet classes, but say that George initially refused, saying ‘boys don’t do ballet’.

“He didn’t want to be picked on for being different to the other boys,” revealed Mr Stevens.

But it was after seeing Billy Elliot in the West End, as well as the Royal Ballet’s performances of Swan Lake and Alice in Wonderland, that finally led George to declare he wanted to learn ballet. 

He began lessons with his teacher, Tamara Moubayed, in 2014 at The Southborough School of Dance, where they teach the Legat Russian ballet discipline.

“Miss Tamara soon recognised George’s natural abilities,” said Mr Stevens. 

“She put him forward for an audition with the The Royal Ballet Associates in May 2016 and he managed to secure a place at the Royal Ballet Associates in Covent Garden from September 2016.” 

‘It is really important that George
is allowed to follow his dreams’

George continued to attend both The Southborough School of Dance and The
Royal Ballet Associates, and was later asked by The Royal Ballet to audition for a role in Sleeping Beauty. 

After securing a cover role in the production, George entered into the 2016 Tunbridge Wells Dance Festival and won a silver medal for his first solo performance after only 18 months of ballet training. 

He also won a further silver medal in this year’s festival, when he was in competition with other children who have been studying ballet from as young as three and four years old.

LEARNING CURVE George with his teacher Tamara Moubayed

During the past year, George’s natural abilities and his experiences of winning medals have helped his confidence and self-belief to grow, so when the opportunity came to apply for a place at White Lodge he knew that the chances of gaining a place were very slim, but he felt that it was worth giving it 100 per cent effort.

Mr and Mrs Stevens revealed: “As parents, we obviously have mixed feelings about George moving away from home, but we are incredibly proud of his achievements so far. 

“It is also really important that George is allowed to follow his dreams, so we are really overjoyed and happy for him and will do anything possible to support him.

“White Lodge has excellent facilities, teaching staff and carers, so we can’t think of any better place for George to live, be educated and trained by the world’s leading ballet teachers.”